The holiday season is upon us and while it promises the joy of family and friends gathering to celebrate, it can also be a stressful time. Eighty-eight percent of Americans say they feel increased stress around the holidays.

These wellness tips can help you navigate the next six weeks so that you can enjoy them to the full and still maintain your health goals.

Keep your wellness goals top of mind

If you are hosting the holiday meal it’s a lot easier, but even if you are eating out for the holiday celebrations it is possible to keep your goals as the yardstick. If you are on a personalized clinical nutrition program, there are ways to serve and eat the delicious dishes everyone expects and still stay on your program.  Try some of these recipes.

Mindful eating

The average American spends two-and-a-half hours a day eating, but more than half that time also doing something else.  This lack of awareness of the food you eat may be contributing to the national obesity epidemic and other health issues, says Dr. Lilian Cheung, a nutritionist and lecturer at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Try to be fully present when eating, so that you can fully appreciate the experience.

Mindful eating also means that you should be thinking about the quality of the food and where it comes from.

Prioritize sleep

According to a recent study, most people sleep less during the holidays. One reason might be that you are not sleeping at home where you can stick to your bedtime routines. Rest and sleep are essential factors when dealing with stress. Make sure you get the rest you need.

Stick to your exercise routine

While it’s tempting to kick back and spend more time on the couch, physical activity during the holidays may be more important than at any other time of the year. Exercise can help you combat stress, prevent weight gain, help you maintain your good habits, boost your energy, and even help you manage anxiety and depression.

Don’t compare yourself to others

One of the best ways to reduce stress is to let go of your expectations about the holidays. You don’t have to be happy all the time or produce that “perfect” holiday meal. Be yourself and do the best you can keeping your health and wellness goals in mind.  No matter what anyone else does or says, you don’t have to compete.

Be alert for emotional triggers

Each person is different and may have different triggers around the holiday season.  Be alert and aware of yours. That old saying forewarned is forearmed applies. If you know you have an issue with a family member, think about what triggers you and see if you can devise a strategy to de-escalate that, if it happens. Don’t be tempted to handle the stress with alcohol or excess food.

Practice extra self-care.

While it’s always important to prioritize your basic health and to do things that are healing and that give you joy, it can be particularly important over the holidays. Formulating a plan to carveout some time for yourself can make all the difference during this potentially stressful time.

If you would like to find out what nutrients your body might need to cope with the extra stress during the holiday season, contact a Nutrition Response Testing® practitioner near you.

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